Innovation That Matters

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A new method for assessing the neurotoxicity of chemicals without animal testing

Health & Wellbeing

A chemical testing method that eliminates the use of animals could also improve the speed and cost of new drug delivery

Spotted: It is generally a legal requirement for new medicines to be tested on animals before being tested on humans. These tests are not only time-consuming and costly, but ethically questionable and of limited use due to differences between humans and other animal species. Now, German life sciences startup DNTOX has developed a way to test chemicals for neurotoxicity without using animals.

DNTOX’s system, which focuses on neurotoxicity, consists of a battery of individual tests that are combined with proprietary evaluation algorithms. The system, a Neurosphere Assay, uses multicellular in-vitro systems to evaluate chemicals’ potential to disturb brain development and cause developmental neurotoxicity.

The tests are conducted on primary human neural progenitor cells (hNPC). These cells are cultivated as three-dimensional floating or plated spheres and can be used to study a variety of key neurodevelopmental processes, such as neuronal differentiation and neural network formation.

The company’s solution is cheaper and faster than animal testing – and does not harm any living creatures either. It holds great promise for eliminating animal testing in the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. In June, DNTOX received €1.4 million in a seed funding round led by HTGF and others. 

Pharmacology is making great strides in developing new products in more sustainable and safer ways. In the archive, Springwise has also spotted shape-shifting antibiotics that can tackle bacterial resistance and a drug derived from rainforest plants.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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